Ben, Jerry, and Tom

My pal Glenn Hauman sent me this link to a recent article in the Washington Square News, NYU’s student-run newspaper: The Death of the Americone Dream

The gist of the article: the Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream scoop shop on Third Avenue between E.10th and E.11th streets has closed after 22 years of operation. Why do I find this noteworthy? Because I worked in that scoop shop for several months in late 1988 and early 1989, during my sophomore year at NYU film school.

I won’t lie and say I have great memories of the place. Working there helped me pack on twenty pounds in a very short time (I believed in frequent taste-testing of all the flavors as a form of “quality control,” to make sure no ice crystals had formed inside the containers).

There is, however, one indelible memory I carry with me from that scoop shop. One incident I will never forget.

One night when I was working the counter, Tom Cruise and a woman visited the shop, and I waited upon them. They ordered five quarts — not pints, quarts — of hand-packed ice-cream. Just my luck, they picked most of the hardest-to-scoop flavors, and they picked a lot of them (B&J allowed customers to mix flavors in the hand-packed containers — 2 or 3 in a pint, up to 5 in a quart). By the time I finished, my wrist was all but paralyzed, and the muscles in my forearm ached.

Then Tom stepped up to the register, paid for the ice cream … and then he and his gal pal left without leaving a tip, despite the fact that next to the register there stood a huge jar colorfully labeled TIPS. A modest tip was customary for hand-packed ice-cream at that time, and they’d ordered the mother lode and given me a carpal-tunnel injury.

No tip. The big-shot movie star, the thirty-year-old multimillionaire, couldn’t spare a few bucks to tip a young kid working his ass off to provide him with quality service. That is why, to this day, I consider Tom Cruise a total douchebag.

Cruise, if you’re reading this, you owe me a tip with 22 years’ worth of interest, you douche.

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